cross-country trip day 5: rushmore, bison, and searing heat


Mount Rushmore 1

Lane's first reaction upon seeing Mount Rushmore from the road? "I didn't expect it to be so small." To be honest, from far away it did look a lot smaller than the postcard photos make it seem. When we got closer, however, we were properly impressed by its grandeur. Unfortunately, we made the mistake of taking the .6 mile path around the base of the monument, and while Gerald and Lane and I all drank our bottles of water, Alex didn't. When we got into the car, my outside temperature thermometer read 104, and by the time we got down the road to Custer State Park and stopped for lunch, Alex was exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion. So, Gerald took Alex back to the hotel, and Lane and I drove around the wildlife loop at the park, where we saw burros, deer, and herds of bison.

Bison from Afar

(We got a lot closer than that, but this photo fit best in the entry.)

The interesting thing about South Dakota is that the view from the interstate (at least here in Rapid City) is really deceptive. From I-90 (and our hotel) it looks flat as a pancake. But go 20 miles south and you're in the mountainous Black Hills area, with twisting roads running through hilly terrain. These are the hills that spurred the phrase "there's gold in them thar hills." You certainly wouldn't know it if you just drove through on the interstate.

This evening we're hanging around the hotel so that Alex can recover. Lane and I went out to dinner at the Denny's across the street and had a great time...he's such good company when it's just the two of us. Now that we're back, we're sitting in the hotel lobby where Lane's watching the big HDTV and I'm soaking up the free wifi, while Gerald does the laundry (hey, I offered to do it, but he insisted).

I'm hoping Alex will be feeling better enough for us to leave Rapid City tomorrow...he's sleeping right now, and hasn't thrown up in a few hours, so if we can get some liquids into him tonight we should be fine. In that case, tomorrow will be a South Dakota tourist day--Wall Drug, followed by the scenic loop through Badlands N.P. (we'll stay in the cars, since it's supposed to be pretty hot again tomorrow), and ending up in Mitchell, home of the world-famous Corn Palace.


Update, 8pm: Alex has woken up, and has energy and an appetite. I'm greatly relieved, and it looks like our original travel plan for tomorrow holds.


If its not too hot, try to get out of the car while you're in the Badlands, one the best parts of being in the park is exploring all the nooks and crannies.

I LOVE that you're blogging your trip! It's making me homesick, too -- I grew up in MN, so I've made that cross country trip many times.

Funny story: when I was in junior high my parents and I drove to this area from Minneapolis for a vacation, and when we got to Mount Rushmore I curled my lip and said, "We drove all the way out here for THIS?"

As if carved faces in a mountain of rock was SO five minutes ago.

I think my dad wanted to strangle me!

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This page contains a single entry published on July 23, 2006 5:59 PM.

cross-country trip day 4: cody, wy to rapid city, sd was the previous entry in this blog.

tips for the techno-savvy traveller is the next entry in this blog.

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